Site Catalyst’s Visitor Identification, Segmentation and Transformation Architecture (VISTA) is the only technology available on the market allowing for the creation of real-time segmentation of all online data. An unlimited number of visitor segmentation segmentation rules can be defined with VISTA. To gain a new understanding of how behavior differs from segment to segment, and bring valuable new insight to your site development efforts, VISTA can be leveraged for significant improvements in site performance and profitability.

  • Explain the purpose of VISTA.
  • Give examples of VISTA uses.
To sum up VISTA’s main purpose, it is to act as a real-time data manipulation engine, so that you can change, add or delete any variable before it actually goes into Site Catalyst reports. After analyzing your company’s needs, the Omniture team creates VISTA “rules” for you. An unlimited number of rules can be created on each Report Suite.

Because VISTA is a real-time solution, any rules that are created have to act on the data as it is coming in and cannot act on data that is already in the Site Catalyst database. However, there rules can act on data in the HTTP head as well as any data element sent in the Site Catalyst code.

The Site Catalyst JavaScript collects data that is embedded in Web pages, and transmits the data to Site Catalyst data collection servers. The data is processed into Site Catalyst reports. However, VISTA can be used to transform or segment data after Site Catalyst data collection servers have received the image request but before it has been processed into the reports. As mentioned, the data transformation may be based on data elements within the collected data or within the HTTP header of the request. The changed data then goes into the reports, just as if it had been set that way on the page. VISTA rules are written, tested and deployed on Site Catalyst servers. Since VISTA rules interact only at the point of data collection, there is no maintenance or effort required by Omniture clients. Your Omniture Support Representative will work with you to define the VISTA rule and create a specification from which the rule will be programmed, review the requirements with you, test the rule in a development environment and deploy the validated rule into production.

VISTA rules require time to design, approve, test and deploy. Since VISTA rules modify the data collected by Site Catalyst, new rules as well as changes to existing rules are made carefully, and both tested extensively. In most cases, the data of affected Report Suite(s) are duplicated onto a separate server, and the VISTA rules applied to this test data. Once the data been validated and the performance verified, the rule can then be promoted to production servers.

Side Note about VISTA and the DATA Warehouse
Data is stored in the Data Warehouse in pre-VISTA format, or in the original state in which it was received. Then you can decided which VISTA rules should run on the Data warehouse reports.

Grabber VISTA can grab a value from the URL, the HTTP header or a variable, and set in into another variable or manipulate it and set it into a variable.

Exploder VISTA can take an incoming value from a variable, and break it out into several different variables. This can be very helpful when you have along string of concatenated values that you want to push into different reports.

Concatenator VISTA can take any number of values from variables, the URL, or the HTTP header and concatenate them into one variable. This can be quite helpful when the separate variables are dynamic and could come into Site Catalyst in many different combinations.

Traffic Cop Basically acting as a filter, VISTA can watch for specific values in the HTTP header, variable, or URL and segment that data. You could use this to allow only “good” values into a report, to watch for IP ranges (such as in our big example above) or even watch for specific page names and populate appropriate events on them.

The benefits of using VISTA include the following:
  • It is a Server-side approach to populating Site Catalyst variables so you could use it to keep the code on the page at a minimum.
  • It can set variable for you when you can’t change the code on the page. This may be because you need the result now and there is a code freeze on the size. VISTA can be stopgap in this situation.
  • VISTA can access the HTTP header (which is more difficult to do client-side).
  • VISTA has access to the live data going into Site Catalyst as well as to the Data Warehouse data.